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Find the right COVID-19 test

With 4 types of COVID-19 tests, you need the right information to determine which test is right for you today. Learn more about each COVID-19 test option.

COVID-19 tests at a glance

See which COVID-19 test is right for your situation.

  Active infection molecular (eg, PCR) Rapid antigen Antibody
Why get tested

To see if you currently have COVID-19 infection 

To meet testing requirements for school, work, or travel 

Schedule appointment with as much lead time as your activity allows

To see if you currently have COVID-19 infection 

To meet testing requirements for school, work, or travel 

To see if you currently have COVID-19 antibodiesa

To track antibody levels over timea

Not for determining a current infection.

Accuracy

Better

This test is highly accurate and usually does not need to be repeated

Good

This test has a lower accuracy than molecular (eg, PCR) testsb

Not applicable
Symptom status

Regardless of symptoms

Regardless of symptomsb

No symptoms

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, consider an active infection or rapid antigen test instead

Typical results turnaround 1-3 days 15-30 minutes 1-2 days
Method Nasal swab Nasal swab Blood test
Learn more Active infection testing Rapid antigen testing Antibody testing

Frequently asked questions about COVID

Yes. Quest is one of the labs processing the complex COVID-19 testing during this public health emergency.

For diagnosis of an active COVID-19 infection, check if you’re eligible for a $0 out-of-pocket test. Testing and sample collection are available at a variety of locations, including Walmart® pharmacy drive-thrus and other participating retail locations. Those without any COVID-19 symptoms also have the option of going to select Quest Patient Service Centers. Appointments are required at all locations. If you are not eligible or want the convenience of testing at home, purchase an at-home kit through QuestDirect. Learn more about active infection testing.

Current COVID-19 infections may also be detected with a rapid antigen test. Results are typically ready in just 15 to 30 minutes. See if you’re eligible to schedule an appointment for $0 out-of-pocket testing. Limited availability. Testing is for ages 2+, regardless of symptoms. Learn more about rapid antigen testing.

If your healthcare provider is unsure if your symptoms are due to COVID-19 or flu, they may collect a single sample via nasal swab to be tested for both influenza A and B, as well as COVID-19. The test results of the COVID-19 + flu panel will rule in or rule out each of the viral infections. Learn more about the COVID-19 + flu panel.

If you may have already been exposed to COVID-19, you may be eligible for antibody testing. To get tested for COVID-19 antibodies, you can order the test for yourself via QuestDirect. This allows you to get tested without waiting to go your doctor first. Or, you can reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider and have them submit an order for your test. Learn more about antibody testing options.

If you suspect you have COVID-19 or were recently in contact with someone who had it, a swab test can tell you whether you have an active infection. Knowing if you currently have COVID-19 gives you the information you need to self-isolate and protect everyone around you.

If you suspect that you had a recent or prior COVID-19 infection, even if you never showed signs of being sick, you can take an antibody blood test to confirm prior infection.

Understanding your antibody status also gives you and your healthcare provider the insight to make an informed decision about returning to activity. Other reasons why it’s beneficial to know if you are positive for COVID-19 antibodies include:

  • Track evidence of your antibodies over time
  • Encouraging those you were in contact with to talk to their doctor about getting tested
  • Reducing the need to be monitored and retested for COVID-19 infection
  • Donating plasma for those who are seriously ill from COVID-19 Learn how to donate plasma
  • Doing your part to slow the spread of the virus by being counted in global pandemic statistics

Typically, the quickest way to get your test results is having them sent to you automatically through your secure MyQuest online portal. If you don’t already have a MyQuest account, signing up is free and easy.

Still have questions?

Visit our full list of COVID-19 FAQs 

All FAQs

a Positive results with the antibody test may occur after COVID-19 vaccination, but the clinical significance is not yet known. How long antibodies remain detectable after infection or vaccination and how long protection, if any, may last is not yet known. The results of this test should not be interpreted as an indication of degree of immunity or protection.

b Rapid antigen tests are less accurate than molecular tests, so your doctor may recommend a molecular test when your antigen test result does not make sense with your symptoms and exposure history. For example, when the antigen test says you are infected but you do not have symptoms (and have not been exposed recently). Another example is when your antigen test says you are not infected but you have symptoms. Rapid antigen tests have their best accuracy within 7 days of symptoms starting. Accuracy and the clinical significance of results beyond the 7 days is not known.

 

COVID-19 testing statements

  • The antibody tests, molecular tests, and antigen tests (together “All tests”) have not been FDA cleared or approved;
  • All tests have been authorized by FDA under EUAs for use by authorized laboratories;
  • The antibody tests have been authorized only for the detection of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens; 
  • The molecular tests have been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens;
  • The antigen tests have been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, and not for any other viruses or pathogens; and  
  • All tests are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.

 

About the FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Status

This test has been authorized by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). This means that while Quest Diagnostics has validated the test and has the data to believe the test and the collection kit are accurate, this test has not been FDA cleared or approved; this test has been authorized by FDA under an EUA for use by authorized laboratories; this test has been authorized only for the detection of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens; and, this test is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(B)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360BBB-3(B)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner. Additional studies need to be conducted for this test and others like it to be FDA cleared or approved.

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